Centre May Strip Bengal’s Top Police Brass of Medals For Taking Part in Mamata Banerjee’s Dharna
The reprimanding action is further likely to escalate the tension between the Banerjee-led West Bengal government and the Narendra Modi administration at the Centre.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the media during her dharna in Kolkata.
New Delhi: Taking a dim view of police officers joining Mamata Banerjee’s dharna in Kolkata, the central government is considering stripping them of their medals and may also bar them from central deputation, sources have told News18.
The reprimanding action is further likely to escalate the tension between the Banerjee-led West Bengal government and the Narendra Modi administration at the Centre as the order would impact almost the entire top brass of the West Bengal police.
Sources said that the ministry of home affairs had on February 4 asked the Bengal government to act against DGP Virendra, ADG Vineet Kumar Goyal, ADG (law and order) Anuj Sharma, Bidhannagar commissioner Gyanwant Singh and ACP Supritam Sarkar for violation of service rules.
The action being considered against “the delinquent” officers includes removing them from the empanelment list, which would bar them from serving at the Centre, and withdrawing medals or decoration conferred on them for meritorious service.
While the Centre has opined that the officers had no business joining Banerjee’s political protest, the officers would likely make the case that they were only performing their duty of providing security to the chief minister and the other ministers in the state government.
IPS officers News18 spoke to said MHA, as cadre controlling authority, has the power to take action, but only after following principles of natural justice. "Yes, action can be taken but only after following principles of natural justice, which means after calling them for explanation. It cannot be done arbitrarily," an officer posted in Delhi said on the condition of anonymity.
A member of the IPS Association also pointed out that there was a precedent for stripping medals. "Haryana cadre IPS officer SPS Rathore was stripped of his medal after he was found guilty of sexually harassment. But there is no recent example of anyone being removed from the empanelled list," the officer said.
News18 had earlier reported that the MHA had also asked the Bengal government to take disciplinary action against Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar, also for joining the dharna.
In its communication to the West Bengal chief secretary on February 5, the MHA said that as per information received, Kumar sat on dharna with Banerjee along with some police officers at the Metro Channel in Kolkata, which is prima facie in contravention to service rules.
The ministry cited the extant provisions of Rules 3(1), 5(1) and 7 of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, which were reportedly flouted by Kumar.
The communication was sent just after the Supreme Court ruled that CBI cannot arrest the Kolkata top cop but can question him in Shillong on Friday. Banerjee had gone on protest following CBI raids at Kumar’s residence on Sunday and had ended the dharna after the SC order.
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